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GROUNDWORKER CHEATS EXCAVATION DEATH

Firm fined after worker trapped for two hours in trench collapse

Vickers Construction Limited, has been ordered by Darlington Magistrates to pay over £8k in fines and prosecution costs after a groundworker was injured and trapped for more than two hours when a trench collapsed.

The court heard that the incident occurred in November 2008 as an excavator was being used to open a trench for drainage pipes on a sloping bank near Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

Trapped from waist down for two hours

Construction worker, John Taylor, 44 of Thornaby was laying pipes when the trench wall collapsed. He was trapped from the waist down for more than two hours and also suffered bruising to his legs.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed that the driver of the excavator had not received suitable training.

Trench support and worker training should have been provided

After the case, HSE Inspector Dr Dave Shallow, said:

“Trench collapses are a well-known cause of serious injuries and deaths in the construction industry and this incident could have easily been avoided.

“The employee using the excavator should have been properly trained and industry guidance, which recommends providing shoring or trench boxes, should have been followed.”

“Companies need to recognise the dangers of excavations and ensure safe systems of work are in place before workers enter excavations.”

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